Archive for August, 2013

Rest in peace Seamus Heaney :(

Posted: August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Photo Credit: RTE Player

It is with great sadness that I have let it be known that -Seamus Heaney,Nobel laureate,poet, translator,  and playwright has passed away at the age of 74.The Nobel literature laureate recently suffered from ill health, and was reported to have collapsed earlier this week.

Tributes are pouring in for the 74-year-old, who leaves behind his wife Marie and three children. President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to his friend and fellow poet Seamus Heaney. The pair have been friends for decades and Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina attended the Nobel Prize winning ceremony in Oslo in 1995. Mr Higgins said the greeted the news this morning with the “greatest sadness”.Mr Higgins, himself a published poet, described Heaney as warm, humourous, caring and courteous. He praised Heaney’s “extraordinary depth and warmth of personality” and his “grace and generosity”. In a statement Mr Higgins said: “As tributes flow in from around the world, as people recall the extraordinary occasions of the readings and the lectures, we in Ireland will once again get a sense of the depth and range of the contribution of Seamus Heaney to our contemporary world. “The presence of Seamus was a warm one, full of humour, care and courtesy – a courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry Northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours from all over the world. “His careful delving, translation and attention to the work of other poets in different languages and often in conditions of unfreedom, meant that he provided them with an audience of a global kind. And we in Ireland gained from his scholarship and the breath of his reference. “Generations of Irish people will have been familiar with Seamus’s poems. Scholars all over the world will have gained from the depth of the critical essays, and so many rights organisations will want to thank him for all the solidarity he gave to the struggles within the republic of conscience.

He was one of Ireland’s best known and best-loved poets, often compared to W.B. Yeats.Beautiful post Catherine Cronin  lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway here 

Heaney had been awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work, most notably winning the Nobel prize for literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”. The writer and lecturer also received the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread prizes (1996 and 1999). He was both the Harvard and the Oxford Professor of Poetry and was made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996.

Many of his works deal with Ireland, particularly the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where he was born. As an Irish Catholic from Derry he came under pressure to takes sides but expressed a reservation to become a spokesperson for the 25 years of violence.

Born April 13, 1939, the oldest of nine children, Heaney first lived at Mossbawn between Castledawson and Toomebridge, Derry in Northern Ireland. In 1953, his family moved to Bellaghy, a few miles away. In 1957, Heaney traveled to Belfast to study English Language and Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. After lecturing for some time at Queen’s University and also at the University of California, Berkeley, he decided to move to Dublin and worked as a teacher at Carysfort College.He lived in Dublin until his death.

Photo Credit: Michael Collins Adventures on Facebook

sadness I am sad today because  Seamus Heaney’ is one of my favorite poets.He had a way with words and a style that could not match any other poet.His great friend Brian Friel will miss him terribly. Heaney’s fellow poet Eavan Boland professor of creative writing at Stanford  said that he was an ”an extraordinarily good poet”  and said that his death is “a tremendous, tremendous loss.” On the day that this blog was established, the tropical nature of my firist post wasHeaney and Longley read in Galway at this year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature.I really wanted to go to that public reading so alas i had blog about it from afar as it was sold out. I regret it today on hearing the shocking news today but in hindsite there was nothing i could have done it was booked out for months. Seamus Heaney 1939 – 2013 RIP image Seamus Heaney in June at the Kennedy homecoming for JFK50. (Pic: Laura Hutton/ Photocall)


A screenshoot of 1st post

A screenshoot of 1st post



The Volvo Ocean Race is in town! As I write this, the boats are due into Galway (the finishing point of the race) after midnight tonight. The last time “the Volvo” was in Galway in 2009, an estimated 10,000 people crowded into Galway city to greet the boats arriving — at 3:00 in the morning — and enjoyed sunshine and a festival atmosphere for the next 10 days. Such is the spirit of Galway. [03/07/12 Update: huge crowds attended the race finish in Galway in the early hours of this morning.]

The event is about much more than the race. For the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race event, Galway has been transformed. We have a Race Village and a Global Village where you can find food stalls, musical entertainment, comedy, sports and adventure activities, crafts and fashion, as well as science, technology and education events. There is a great programme of

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McGuinness Returns

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

We haven’t seen an original play by Frank McGuinness in Ireland since 2002 according to Patrick Lonergan

So it’s great to see the Abbey staging his new play The Hanging Gardens – . It reunites McGuinness with his long-time collaborator Patrick Mason, whose version of Observe the Sons of Ulster that made Mason’s tenure as Abbey Artistic Director so important. 

And it’s a great cast also. Marty Rea gave the best performance I saw l in DruidMurphy 2012  and he’s joined by Niall Buggy his fellow DruidMurphy 2012 cast mate 


penguin is delighted to announce the acquisition of Eamon Dunphy’s autobiography The Rocky Road. The book was acquired from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency and will be published in October 2013.
For more than thirty years, no commentator on Irish sport, politics and culture has been the object of so much love, hatred and fascination as Eamon Dunphy. Now, for the first time, Dunphy tells the remarkable story of his life.
Eamon Dunphy said, “I’m delighted that Penguin is publishing a book that I’ve spent a long time working on.”
Tony Lacey, Publishing Director, Penguin said, “Eamon’s autobiography has been long-awaited, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The Rocky Road moves seamlessly between the private and the public, with extraordinary stories from the worlds of football, politics and journalism, describing a life that has been anything but prosaic.”
Michael McLoughlin, MD, Penguin Ireland, said “Since Eamon’s return to Ireland after his retirement from football nearly thirty years ago he has been a feature of Irish life. It is a privilege to be given the honour of publishing this wonderful autobiography.”
For media enquiries, please contact Cormac Kinsella, Repforce Publicity, on 01-6349924
or email
For serialisation, please contact Michael McLoughlin, Penguin Ireland
on 01-6617695 or email
Penguin Random House is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies, owning 53% and 47% respectively. Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia, and South Africa; as well as Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House’s companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.


The Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains in association with the History Department of Trinity College, Dublin and History/Ireland magazine is offering a prize of € 500 for the winning entrant in an essay competition on Gaelic Ireland.

Entry is open to all persons over 18 years who are NOT on the academic staff of a history department in any third-level institution.

Essay must be on any selected topic within the following areas: – the history of Gaelic Ireland (date-range 400 to 1690 A.D), Irish kingship, lordship, land-holding, genealogy, family history etc. It should be approximately 2,000 words in length and accompanied by full footnote references to sources used, with a bibliography at the end (footnotes and bibliography will not be counted as part of the word-length). It may be written in English or Irish.

Entries, with candidate’s name, address and contact details should be posted to:
‘Irish Chiefs’ Prize’
c/o History Department,
School of Histories and Humanities,
Trinity College Dublin,
Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland

or e-mailed as an attached MS-Word file to: by 1st May 2014

The prize will only be awarded for an entry deemed to be of publishable standard. Subject to editorial approval, a version of the paper should appear in a subsequent issue of History/Ireland. Both the winner and other entrants whose papers are deemed of publishable standard may be invited to contribute their work to a projected volume of essays on Gaelic Ireland, which is a central goal of the Chiefs’ and Chieftains’ competition.

Further Details

Jenny Huston

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


One of the most experienced voices on national radio, Jenny Huston presented her own music show on RTÉ 2fm for more than nine years, and made regular TV and daytime talk radio appearances. She was nominated twice for Best Irish DJ at the Meteor Awards.
Canadian-born Jenny has also hosted Liveline, was a weekly contributor and regular fill-in presenter for the Gerry Ryan Show, as well as guesting on RTÉ Radio 1 programmes such as Drivetime with Mary Wilson, The Tubridy Show, Rattlebag and The Pat Kenny Show. She has also contributed to the BBC, CBC and CFOX, Canada and DRS Virus, Switzerland.
Before working at RTÉ, she had stints on CVUF-FM (the campus radio station at University of Victoria in Canada), Radio Kilkenny and Phantom FM.
In 2009, she wrote In Bloom: Irish Bands Now, which examined the impact of Irish artists on the international music scene.
Jenny has a degree in psychology and a higher diploma in arts administration. She is also a certified trainer (FETAC Level 6).
Along with her love of music, Jenny is an avid traveller, fascinated by social psychology and mildly addicted to cooking programmes. When she isn’t at a gig or cooking for friends, she can found struggling to get her fitness back at the gym.

Books About Drink

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Draft Copies: Books About Drink

The drink has claimed many a poor author – Dylan ThomasDorothy ParkerF. Scott FitzgeraldKingsley AmisTruman Capote, and Charles Bukowski to name just a few. Many writers embraced the bottle and wove drinking themes in their writing – Amis alone published On Drink and Everyday DrinkingEvelyn Waugh, a contemporary of Amis, once wrote: “Wine is a bride who brings a great dowry to the man who woos her persistently and gracefully.”

Things have changed. Today, there seems to be an unlimited supply of memoirs about how people beat the booze and conquer their addiction. A number of non-fiction writers are keen to understand how alcohol has shaped society with books about how booze “changed the world.” That’s fair enough but books celebrating bars, beer, wine, and the hard stuff used to be commonplace but they now appear to belong to another generation.

On Drinking by Kingsley Amis

Perhaps the greatest bookish irony of alcohol is that the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most collectible literary items of the 20th century – it’s the tome that single-handedly created a genre and launched a hundred thousand self-help books.

We have selected 20 books, mostly from the dim and distant past, on drinking. Ale, wine, gin, inns, bars, cocktails, drinking songs, beer cans, bartending and staying off the stuff – it’s all there.


Twenty Drinking Books

Old Waldorf Bar Days by Albert Stevens Crockett
Old Waldorf Bar Days
by Albert Stevens Crockett

A piece of history from 1931 that reveals how posh folks drank before Prohibition.

Find all copies

The Savoy Cocktail Book
The Savoy Cocktail Book

A highly collectible example of 1930 Art Deco but affordable reprints are available.

Find all copies

The Tale of John Barleycorn or, From Barley to Beer by Mary Azarian
The Tale of John Barleycorn or, From Barley to Beer
by Mary Azarian

Printed in 1982, a beautiful version of this folksong illustrated with woodcuts.

Find all copies

The Class Book of U.S. Beer Cans
The Class Book of U.S. Beer Cans

Homer Simpson would love this one from 1982 – photos of 2000+ beer cans from 1930 to 1980.

Find all copies

Born in a Beer Garden or, She Troupes to Conquer by Christopher Morley
Born in a Beer Garden or, She Troupes to Conquer
by Christopher Morley

The story of the resurrection of the Old Rialto Theatre in Hoboken, New Jersey to stage a Morley play.

Find all copies

The Curiosities of Ale & Beer by John Bickerdyke
The Curiosities of Ale & Beer
by John Bickerdyke

Published in 1886, an eccentric history of beerlore from Leadenhall Press.Reprinted in 1965.

Find all copies

Ardent Spirits: The Rise & Fall of Prohibition by John Kobler
Ardent Spirits: The Rise & Fall of Prohibition
by John Kobler

Printed in 1973 and reprinted in ’93, this book also looks at America’s early temperance ideals.

Find all copies

Wine in War and Peach by Evelyn Waugh
Wine in War and Peace
by Evelyn Waugh

Waugh’s 1947 tribute to his beloved vino with illustrations by Rex Whistler.

Find all copies

Drinks-man-ship by Len Deighton
by Len Deighton

This 1964 collection of essays were culled from Town Magazine. Very scarce.

Find all copies

The Common Sense of Drinking by Richard R Peabody
The Common Sense of Drinking
by Richard R Peabody

Very collectible, this 1931 book influenced AA creator Bill Wilson. Peabody was a recovering alcoholic.

Find all copies

The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe
The Stork Club Bar Book
by Lucius Beebe

First published in 1946, this cocktail recipe book also offers an insight into saloon society.

Find all copies

Bar Room Ballads by Robert Service
Bar Room Ballads
by Robert Service

First published in 1940, a lusty collection of poems and ballads from frontier saloons.

Find all copies

The Blood of the Grape: The Wine Trade Textbook by Simon L. Andre
The Blood of the Grape: The Wine Trade Textbook
by Simon L. Andre

Published in 1920, this book contains a series of Andre’s lectures to the Wine Trade Club.

Find all copies

Inns, Ales and Drinking Customs of Old England by Frederick W. Hackwood
Inns, Ales and Drinking Customs of Old England
by Frederick W. Hackwood

First published in 1909, this covers the lot – pub signs, drunkenness, breweries, songs etc.

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The Guinness Book of Guinness 1935-1985 by Edward Guinness
The Guinness Book of Guinness 1935-1985
by Edward Guinness

Self-published in 1988, this book concerns the firm’s Park Royal brewery in Northwest London

Find all copies

Bass & Co. Limited by Alfred Barnard
Bass & Co. Limited
by Alfred Barnard

These are 1977 reprints (100 copies) of an 1889 edition about this Burton-on-Trent brewer.

Find all copies

The Broom is Out by Dick Wall
The Broom is Out
by Dick Wall

A memoir from an Anheuser-Busch executive – details pre-WWII life in St Louis, Missouri

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Mother's Ruin: The Story of Gin by John Watney
Mother’s Ruin: The Story of Gin
by John Watney

A long forgotten gem from 1976 – details how gin drinking became a political hot potato.

Find all copies

Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender's Guide by Mr. Boston
Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide
by Mr. Boston

First printed in 1935 and still going strong – more than 1,400 recipes 

Find all copies

Straight Up or on the Rocks by William Grimes
Straight Up or on the Rocks
by William Grimes

The author investigates 350 years of American drinking in this 1993 book.

Find all copies

ATTN: Professionals in academia/education, administration, publishing, public history, museum studies, library studies, and more… Please consider submitting a presentation proposal for the following CFP for the Graduate Student Caucus professionalization panel at the 2014 ASECS Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, VA, March 20-22, 2014.

Going Rogue: The Merits and Perils of Breaking with Professional Conventions
Graduate students often worry about toeing the academic line and keeping an eye on the market. Countless articles and blogs proffer advice to graduate students for shaping oneself and one’s project for the tenure track. However, with the market’s shifting demands and opportunities, the tenure track is not the only nor the best professional course. This panel, a roundtable format, will include brief and informal presentations from professionals (i.e. faculty, administrators, editors/publishers, archivists, curators, secondary educators, etc.) on alternative career paths to the tenure track. Proposals of 250 words that address different professional options and provide practical ideas for preparing for this path in graduate school will be considered. In thinking about alternative professional paths for academics, presenters might address how students’ approach to dissertation research and writing or other aspects of graduate study might shift in consideration of a wider field of employment. Presentations that discuss the merits and perils of other unconventional or experimental approaches to professionalization will also be included. Please submit proposals to Sarah Schuetze at

The Best Prison Literature

Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
20,000 Years in Sing Sing by Lewis E. Lawes
20,000 Years in Sing Sing by Lewis E. Lawes

With notorious rare book thief William Jacques jailed once again, AbeBooks is showcasing some of the finest prison literature ever published.

Call it the Slammer, the Big House, the Pokey or the Clink, prison remains a place no-one wishes to go but everyone wants to read about. The vast majority of people will never step inside one but everyone can imagine what jailbird life must be like.

Authors, both fiction and non-fiction writers, have considered almost every aspect of imprisonment – the solitude of a life sentence, the culture and the contraband, the escapes, the torture, the miscarriages of justice and the innocent souls, the warders, the political and war-time prison camps, and the letters and visits.  Even the slang, the tattoos and the last meals of those on Death Row have been documented.

Countless books, from The Count of Monte Cristo to Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun, have touched upon prison life but our selection of 25 books highlights novels and real-life accounts where doing time is at the absolute heart of the story.


Fictional Prison Literature

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

Darkness at Noon
Arthur Koestler

Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut

Hocus Pocus
Kurt Vonnegut

Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov

Invitation to a Beheading
Vladimir Nabokov

The 25th Hour by David Benioff

The 25th Hour
David Benioff

Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon

Kalisha Buckhanon

Falconer by John Cheever

John Cheever

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters

The Brethren by John Grisham

The Brethren
John Grisham

Non Fiction Prison Literature

Papillon by Henri Charriere

Henri Charrière

Birdman of Alcatraz by Thomas E. Gaddis

Birdman of Alcatraz
Thomas E. Gaddis

Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean

Dead Man Walking
Sister Helen Prejean

Midnight Express by Billy Hayes & William Hoffer

Midnight Express
Billy Hayes & William Hoffer

One Day in My Life by Bobby Sands

One Day in My Life
Bobby Sands

Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan

Borstal Boy
Brendan Behan

Meals to Die For by Brian Price

Meals to Die For
Brian Price

The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill

The Great Escape
Paul Brickhill

Discipline & Punish by Michel Foucault

Discipline & Punish
Michel Foucault

In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Henry Abbott

In the Belly of the Beast
Jack Henry Abbott

King Rat by James Clavell

King Rat
James Clavell

People's Prison by Geoffrey Jackson

People’s Prison
Geoffrey Jackson

Manslaughter United by Chris Hulme

Manslaughter United
Chris Hulme


Posted: August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

orget about Harry’s Hogwarts Express. Forget about those Railway Children, the Boxcar Children and Thomas the Tank Engine. Forget about The Little Engine That Could and The Polar Express too. The best books about trains are ones involving dirty deeds done dirty cheap. For more than a century, mystery writers have been drawn to trains, railways and stations because they are wonderful places to set a crime – hordes of strangers, multiple destinations, people fleeing from the past or looking for a fresh start. You may never make eye contact with a fellow train passenger again after reading some of these thrillers.

Top 10 Train Thrillers

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

1. Strangers on a Train 
Patricia Highsmith

A gripping psychological thriller from 1950 that proves you can meet dangerous people on trains.

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

2. The Wheel Spins 
Ethel Lina White

Another thriller (1936) about meeting a stranger on a train – Hitchcock turned it into The Lady Vanishes.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

3. Murder on the Orient Express 
Agatha Christie

First published in 1933, Hercule Poirot has a mystery to solve after Mr. Ratchett is stabbed 12 times.

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

4. Stamboul Train 
Graham Greene

Published a year before Murder on the Orient Express, this is a thriller set on the Orient Express.

The Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin 

5. The Necropolis Railway
Andrew Martin

Published in 2002, a British murder mystery set in the golden age of steam.

The Edge by Dick Francis

6. The Edge
Dick Francis

A classic thriller where the Jockey Club’s Tor Kelsey takes a transcontinental train journey across Canada.

La Béte Humaine by Émile Zola

7. La Béte Humaine
Émile Zola

Published in 1890, this thriller is set on the railway between Paris and Le Havre

4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie

8. 4.50 From Paddington 
Agatha Christie

Elspeth McGillicuddy sees a woman strangled in a passing train and Miss Marple investigates.

Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood

9. Mr. Norris Changes Trains
Christopher Isherwood

A 1935 novel set in pre-War Europe with a chance meeting on a train. Also readGoodbye to Berlin.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey

10. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 
John Godey

A New York subway train is hijacked in this thriller from 1973 that became a move a year later.

And Five Recommended Non-Fiction Books About Trains

The 8.55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames

The 8.55 to Baghdad

Andrew Eames

A train journey from London to Baghdad just before the Iraq War in Agatha Christie’s footsteps.

Stranger on a Train by Jenny Diski

Stranger on a Train 

Jenny Diski

Diski travels around the US by train but this book is really about the author’s fragile mental state.

The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux

The Old Patagonian Express 

Paul Theroux

Theroux heads south from the US into Central America to Patagonia describing sights and people. 

The Story of London's Underground by John R. Day

The Story of London’s Underground 
John R. Day

First published by London Transport in the 1960s. Tells of smoke-filled tunnels to the modern day Tube.

The Big Red Train Ride by Eric Newby

The Big Red Train Ride

Eric Newby

The Trans-Siberian Railway covers seven time zones and 5,900 miles. Newby made the trip in 1977.

Five Railway Books That Caught abes Eye